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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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continue for very long into the future. Given a finite planet, any positive rate of population growth would eventually produce saturation. In the long run, space is the limiting factor to population growth and, in consequence, long-run policy must aim at bringing the world growth rate to zero.
Moreover, because space is the limiting factor, there can be no doubt that the growth rate will eventually be controlled. The only questions are whether the control will be by nature or by man; and, if by man, whether the control will be rational and desirable or irrational and undesirable. Control by nature, of course, would mean control by famine and pestilence, as discussed by Malthus. Relatively irrational and undesirable control by man would include those other "checks" discussed by Malthus—war and misery. More rational and desirable controls by man would include controls of the type mentioned in the discussion of short-run policy which follows.
In the short run, there is no reasonable alternative to bringing the rate of population growth below present levels. Realistically this does not mean setting a zero rate of growth as a short-run target. For even if it could be achieved in the short run, say by the end of this century, the price of achieving it would probably be greater than mankind would be willing to pay. Furthermore, on the basis of experience to date, there is little prospect that a zero rate of population growth can be achieved by man in the near future, and such a goal is especially not likely to be achieved rapidly in the developing areas of Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
The Short Run
In the short run, what is needed is a realistic setting of growth-rate targets, area by area, over fairly short periods of time—probably not less than a decade.
To achieve realistic goals, the more rational and desirable forms of control are to be employed. These include three types of control, often confused, namely: conception control, birth control, and population control. Conception control refers to all the means—behavioral, mechanical, chemical, physiological, and surgical—by which conception is prevented. Birth control involves not only conception control but, in addition, abortion, the elimination of the product of conception before birth. Population control involves not only birth control, but also the relationship between fertility, mortality, and net migration—the balance between immigration and emigration and internal in-migration and out-migration. Moreover, it also involves the effects of social, economic, and political changes on the components of population growth.
At the present time, most of the world's family planning movements have concentrated on conception control and only recently have there been skua-